Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Jamaica estimates millions in damages from Tropical Storm Elsa


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Kingston – The Jamaica government says the preliminary damage caused by the passage last weekend of the Tropical Storm Elsa had been put at J$803 million.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that a preliminary assessment by the National Works Agency (NWA) is that approximately 177 roads islandwide had been affected by the storm, that had earlier become the first named hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane season when it passed through the Lesser Antilles.

“The estimates for flood damage are very preliminary, as the storm ended on Sunday and the agency is continuing damage assessment to determine the cost for permanent repairs. The assessment, to date, is divided into two categories – cost to clean and clear roadways and drains of silt and debris and cost to make the roads accessible,” Holness told Parliament.

“Regarding the cost to clean and clear roadways and drains of silt and debris, the preliminary cost has been put at $443 million. Another $360 million will be required to make affected corridors accessible. We are, therefore, looking at a total cost of approximately J$803 million,” he added.

Holness said these costs are based on equipment time using standard rates and materials for filling washed-out areas. He noted that these costs cover road clearance, drain cleaning, creating access and patching, adding that no costs for rehabilitation and other permanent repairs are included.

“I must point out that the cost to clean and clear the roadways and drains of silt and debris focuses on removing the physical obstacles on the roads and providing clear access for communities. Much of this has been done.

“The cost to make the roads accessible, however, speaks to the filling of holes, grading and using shingles and minimum patching to improve Holness said, noting that the NWA will continue to assess the damage, including inspection of all structures in areas where the intensity of rainfall was highest.

“This is critical, as we want to ensure that no issue that can have serious impact on the lives of the people goes unnoticed. Assessments are also being done on the need for rehabilitation, resulting from the damage to the road network and drainage system.”

Holness urged legislators to move quickly in assisting the NWA in having the first phase of its mitigation programme completed, saying that the government has made J$100 million available for this purpose.

“I am aware that the programme has been completed in some constituencies, but there are others which are lagging. I want to urge us all to have these activities completed within the next 21 days, so that we will be in a better position for the rest of the season,” the Prime Minister said. (CMC)


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